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Crime and Punishment

If the Entire Court Says Guilty, He's Innocent. Really?

Class Summary:

This women's class was presented Tuesday Parshas Shoftim, 3 Elul, 5778, August 14, 2018, at Ohr Chauim Shul, Monsey, NY.

There is a strange law in Judaism. If a court judging a case of capital punishment votes unanimously to convict the defendant, the defendant is acquitted! Only if there is at least one judge who attempts to argue on the defendants behalf, will the conviction stand, following the majority.

This seems bizarre: Where the evidence of guilt appears indisputable, Jewish law frees the suspect! Yet a case with weaker evidence, and thus containing a split among the justices, results in conviction! Is this not an irrational outcome of the law?!

The Torah, as usual, does not fit into our man-made, prefabricated political platforms, but rather has its own unique and refreshing approach. This class presents two fascinating insights. One presented by a 16th century Turkish scholar; the other by a 19th century Polish scholar. Fascinatingly, Dostoyevsky’s world famous novel Crime and Punishment sheds light on the Jewish version of Crime and Punishment.


Please leave your comment below!

  • MR

    Meir Rosenberger -11 months ago

    so how come 24,00 students died if "truth" was so important?

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  • SR

    Shmuel Rosenfeld -2 years ago

    Sotah is given death penalty without 23 dayanim

    Why is the Sotah judged differently then any other capitol offense?

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    • C

      Chaim.S -2 years ago

      The Sota is not given any death sentence, she is given to drink the MAYIM HAMORIRIM, if she is innocent ,nothing happens to her, if guilty she dies by divine providence.

      There is no human judgement at all.

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  • Anonymous -3 years ago

    could you please put up the mareih mikomos of the class. 

    thank you. 

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  • M

    Moshe -3 years ago

    If every one of 71 judges agree he's guilty of murder

    he must be acquired.

    Maybe there's no concept of a plea of the defendant in the Sanhedrin. In western and American law every defendant gets to plead gulity or not guilty.

    What if, even if there is no concept of plea in the Sanhedrin,  the defendant admits to his guilt? Is he still acquited? 

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    • M

      Moshe -3 years ago


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  • O

    Odom -5 years ago

    יש שלום ויש שלום רב. ושלום רב הוא מדרגה יותר נעלה כמובן וזה בא דוקא ע״י חילוקי דעות. וע״כ שלום רב גי׳ מחלק״ת. 

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Women's Shoftim Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • August 14, 2018
  • |
  • 3 Elul 5778
  • |

מוקדש על ידי ר' שמואל בענברון שי', לזכות אשתו אסתר בת מרים, שתהי׳ בריאת אולם ושמחה בחלקה, שתכתב ותחתם לשנה טובה ומתוקה בכל הפרטים, ואך טוב וחסד ימצאוה תמיד כל הימים בטוב הנראה והנגלה.

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